My expedition consisted of 25 men-at-arms, drilled to act as a unit, led by Eloc’s protégé—Gar, son of Dar, descendent of the First Immortal—and their families I took on as useful servants. Gar put those otherwise-worthless wretches into a useful camp organization, and he appointed one of the more sensible women to take charge of them. Someone needed to mind the significant baggage train, so why not the more capable women and children?
Fortunately, I knew exactly what path to follow by the time we departed. That meant one less unknown interfering with my progress, which meant that I could focus on ensuring that the expedition met its requirements and stayed on schedule. With Gar on hand to enforce discipline, and a clear chain of command, I am pleased to boast that even this lot of expendables did not fail to meet expectations. Just 30 days later, on the 45th day of Spring, we arrived at the place where I planned to build my base camp.
Reaching this point did require the daily employment of divinations and transmutations to augment the speed of the daily marches, allowing us to pass through the wilderness faster than any ordinary party could and keep our progress on track. This is not the only reason for why I used what I knew of the sciences in this manner. It also served to keep firmly fixed in the minds of the company that I was no one to be trifled with; the rumor-mongering, which I encouraged, kept discipline problems well below what could be reasonably expected from the low quality of characters I employed for this matter.
The base camp got built with speed, again in part due to my use of appropriate techniques to augment their toils, and once we had a defensible perimeter I had Gar take the men-at-arms to clear the path to the point of entry into the underground that you my Lords provided for me. I established a firm border, keeping out unwanted unnatural attention to compliment the physical perimeter, and then had my personal pavilion fortified to act as my sanctum. Gar completed the task put to him, and in a time I believe only some of you, my Lords, can match I was ready to begin the primary mission put to me.
Gar and I conferred as to how to organize the camp to operate while we were inside seeking the object. We agreed that the woman we appointed as the head of the camp followers would not be good enough to handle this responsibility herself. After reviewing our options, I took Gar’s suggestion to take one of the older youth currently training with the men-at-arms and appoint him to that role. I ensured the youth’s loyalty through an elementary technique of applied mental science, and then implanted into his mind the directives that I wanted him to follow. I ensured that the camp mistress and my new garrison commander got along. Then, to work.